Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! As we move into week one of the two-week season finale, I only have two questions for you, readers: have you been getting yourself ready? And have you been taking the time to “prepare” yourself for the most dramatic ending yet? I know I have (and not just because on Monday I had an almost Pavlovian urge to douse myself in rosé and self-soothe to Gabby’s vocal fry). Whenever a white dude with the personality of a banana tells you to SHUT UP AND SHAPE UP in any context that isn’t CrossFit, that should send a swift chill down your spine.
Last week, Jesse Palmer sat us all down in his doomsday bunker to threaten us with a particularly upsetting season finale. The mood he created suggested that Gabby and Rachel would have to face off against live tigers before accepting marriage proposals. Or at the very least, they would have to whisper “bloody Mary” three times in front of a mirror and if Chris Harrison appeared, drink in hand and slurring about the “woke police,” then they must spend another six weeks on the USS Fuckboy.
The thing is, Jesse Palmer didn’t have to suggest that some sort of sinister oracular vision was at play in predicting a bleak future for Gabby and Rachel. The numbers speak for themselves. While Rachel still has two men and a bitch baby in play, Gabby is down to her last remaining guy–and that guy has a faux hawk!!! (And a problematic history of other fashion, um, choices.) Out of Rachel’s three guys, Zach would sooner fling himself off a cliff than verbalize what happened between him and Rachel in the fantasy suite, Aven just looks confused, and Tino is still choosing to live in the alternate reality where his family wouldn’t show up to a Thanksgiving with Rachel brandishing garlic and holy water. We have working eyes and ears, Jesse. It’s clear the odds are not really in their favor!
Which brings us to tonight. The showrunners want to emphasize that this footage is BREAKING NEWS. They even got special permission from ABC to extend the episode by 15 minutes, despite no one asking them to do so and, in fact, begging them to do the opposite.
What on earth could be left to watch next week that we couldn’t cover tonight #TheBachelorette
— The Betchelor🥀 (@betchelorpod) September 14, 2022
Tonight’s episode will alternate between the finale moments in Mexico and Jesse Palmer’s live viewing party. The viewing party appears to take place in the pits of Hell, where he has summoned his denizens of flying monkeys (the crowd of sad single people and unfulfilled wives) to feed off of Gabby and Rachel’s anguish like it’s half-price wine night.
For once in her life, our favorite coastal grandma (Rachel) looks absolutely stunning. No notes. Gabby looks fine, too. This is all offset by their haunted facial expressions. These women are about to relive special moments with their supposed dream men, and they look like they’re the last two standing in a Final Destination movie. It’s at this point in the evening, as Rachel stares dead-eyed into the crowd and Gabby tries to disappear into her hair, that Jesse Palmer decides we’re ready to watch the
fourth wave of feminism crumble final moments of the season. Let’s get into it!
WTF Happened In That Fantasy Suite
As I’ve mentioned, Jesse Palmer is working overtime for his Christmas bonus. He tells us that tonight we will be shocked, disgusted, and thankful that we never blacked out so thoroughly as to actually hit send on our Bachelor applications. And all of that starts with Zach’s abrupt exit from the rose ceremony.
Up until this point, Zach was convinced Rachel was the Skipper to his Barbie. The two of them were the perfect matching set, complete with some assembly required. But after what happened in the fantasy suite, the two of them can’t even make eye contact with each other.
Y’all. This is WEIRD. They’re speaking words, but those words aren’t adding up to the visceral reactions they’re having to each other’s bodily presence. We are definitely missing something. Zach keeps saying that Rachel wasn’t acting like herself, and Rachel keeps pretending she doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I would still like to know what in the actual fuck went down in that fantasy suite. Like, what could be so bad that the two made a secret blood pact to never speak of it on screen? The meaningful eye contact they keep making has me wondering if one of them proposed eating ass and it gave the other one the ick. I can read between the lines!
Zach sees himself out, but again, there’s no formal dumping. It’s like that Spider-man meme where all the Spider-men are holding guns at each other and slowly backing away. Zach and Rachel are those Spider-men.
Since this is The Bachelorette and the contestants are not living, breathing people, but rather the producer’s personal silly putty, Rachel and Zach must answer for their vagueness. Jesse Palmer invites Zach to the stage, where he and Rachel continue to exchange half-hearted apologies.
RACHEL: I’m really sorry
ZACH: No, I’m really sorry
THANK YOU, JESSE. Finally you’re asking the hard-hitting questions!
Zach confirms what we were all thinking:
the butt stuff got weird Rachel was trying to quiet quit their relationship. She thought she could muster up the energy for one last over-the-clothes fondling, but in the end realized she should have dumped him when he tried to impress her by ordering “uno más” tequila while dressed in head-t0-toe khaki.
Big Tony Is In The House
It’s time for the guys to meet Rachel’s fam or, as I like to call them, the Florida Mafia. You can’t tell me Big Tony has a day job that doesn’t involve blackmail or making cement shoes. I won’t believe it.
Tino’s meet-and-greet is absolutely delusional, but it takes up all of seven minutes of tonight’s 2+ hour programming. Instead, ABC focuses almost entirely on Aven’s date. The signs for all of this going terribly are immediately obvious. First, Rachel shows up for this very important date dressed like she’s about to start her shift at the White Lotus. Seriously, what was her thought process in packing for Mexico?
^^Rachel on this date rn
Then, she tries to tell her family what she loves about Aven, and all she can come up with is that he’s so hot it’s upsetting. Where is the lie though?
She got one thing right at least. Aven is so hot and Big Tony is upset. Big Tony isn’t vibing with Aven AT ALL. I’m not exactly sure what Big Tony wants from him. Perhaps a big declaration of love? Weirdly, I think he expects that declaration to involve Aven challenging a camera operator to a fight for looking at Rachel too much. I mean, his lexicon is very hostile. He keeps saying things like, “No one is going to take my daughter away from me!” Sir, this isn’t that kind of program.
Things go from bad to worse when Aven decides to speak words. Oh, sweetie. Why wouldn’t you let that face and those abs do the talking for you? It’s been working for you your whole life! Why switch things up now? While Rachel is singing his praises to her mom, gushing about how she’s had sooo many conversations about marriage and she 100% trusts him to propose in five days, Aven is telling her friends that he, um, actually would be fine with just leaving here girlfriend/boyfriend. Grab the lighter fluid, ladies; it’s time to hunt the witch.
The thing is, I get what Aven’s saying. He’s 100% serious about Rachel, but the timing of the engagement is negotiable. All very reasonable, normal requests in real life, but this isn’t real life, buddy. This is ABC’s chocolate factory, and Rachel is the Veruca Salt demanding a golden goose of an engagement ring. She doesn’t care how, she wants it right now!
Honestly, I think I would be fine with Aven not proposing to me. I would take that man’s breadcrumbs. But to each their own!
Rachel goes to confront him in the hotel room, and she is so tunnel-visioned on the engagement that she won’t listen to anything he has to say. I get the sense that Aven would propose in five days, even if his heart wasn’t fully into it, because his feelings are that strong for Rachel. And also, ABC is likely holding his loved ones at gunpoint off screen… but I’m sure that has nothing to do with it!
Rachel’s tunnel-vision isn’t totally her fault, either. Traditionally, the franchise has emphasized engagements as clear measures of success. What has the Bachelorette been doing for the last six months without her family, friends, phone, or work, if she doesn’t get engaged? But this is not a normal season. These Bachelorettes have had half as much time as as other leads to get to know their men. For almost a quarter of the journey, these guys were dating both women. Maybe an engagement shouldn’t be the measure for success this season. Maybe it should never be again.
But don’t tell Rachel that—she’s still going on and on about how hurt her feelings are and how embarrassed she was in front of her family. Oh, sweetie. You’re on The Bachelorette. I think they were already embarrassed for you.
They go back and forth for a while before Rachel eventually sends Aven home. This would be a good time to mention that I would like Aven to be the next Bachelor. He’s hot, he’s age appropriate, he’s hot… need I say more? Of course, this is something that I want and ABC has done nothing but take steaming piles of shit on my personal desires. While I, and any living creature with a heartbeat, can see that casting Aven as the Bachelor is a no-brainer, I’m sure ABC will gift it to some loser from five seasons ago. We can never have a nice thing.
“He’s a Little Shit, But I Like Him!”
Gabby gets a whopping 20 minutes of the episode, 15 of which are just ABC fan-girling over Grandpa John. Look, I get it. The man is adorable. The reason why he’s sitting down right now is because he’s been carrying the franchise on his back for the last year of Gabby’s Bachelor/Bachelorette reign. But the fanfare over this grandfather is getting to be a little much. At this point, ABC is all but asking him to sign their tits. It’s embarrassing. At least pretend to have a narrative arc in mind for Gabby’s segment of the show.
Speaking of Gabby, Erich absolutely kills it with her family. It goes so well that Gabby’s aunt even encourages her to be her full, vulnerable self with him. She’s like, “Don’t be afraid to show him how much of an emotional hurricane you really are!” I don’t know, Gabs, you want to save something for the honeymoon. I’m not introducing my forever guy to the internal FEMA that takes place every time I’m mildly inconvenienced unless he’s legally bound to me. That’s just good business.
Gabby is on cloud nine. She’s ready to get engaged, and Erich is ready to propose… right? RIGHT?! Just to double check (the foundation of the hotel has been shaking all day after Rachel’s uncontrollable sobbing registered more seismic activity than a magnitude 8 earthquake), she heads to Erich’s hotel room. She wants to make sure that the blood oath Erich took with ABC still stands, and he is READY for an engagement.
GABBY: I don’t want to put pressure on me or you or this relationship
And boy, is Erich ready to propose. Ready to propose… that they just date after the finale. What the fuck is going on this season? Did the men make a secret pact off-camera to refuse an engagement? Is the work of an anti-engagement union? Is Nick Viall the union rep?
This is unprecedented behavior. Sure, every few seasons we get a singular guy who isn’t ready to get engaged to a total stranger after six weeks. But this season, we’re five days away from a proposal and not one, not two, not three, but FOUR GUYS are refusing to get married at the end of this thing. The audacity of these men. Go on Love Island if you want to fuck around! I don’t have time for it.
Thank you, ABC, for extending the show eight extra minutes so we could bear witness to that footage! Now, instead of going to bed mildly depressed, I can spend the evening lying awake, staring into the dark abyss that is our life and dating culture. Truly, I needed that.
Until next week!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; @thebetchelor /Twitter (1); Giphy (4)
Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! Well, “regularly scheduled” in that it’s a Monday and ABC is airing an episode, regardless of little things like national holidays or my raging hangover. When I think about it, it actually makes perfect sense that ABC would air the first of two two-hour-long Fantasy Suite episodes on a day that celebrates labor. Is there a union that advocates for 30-year-old dog moms with a taste for mediocre wine just trying to scrape by? Asking for a friend.
This week, the gang is off to Mexico for Fantasy Suites. Let me tell you, the vibes are immaculate. If ever there was a hotel to ignite sexual fantasy, it would be this White Lotus wannabe. If one of their dates doesn’t end with Jennifer Coolidge sobbing through her lip fillers, then it’s a missed opportunity. MISSED. OPPORTUNITY.
Normally during Fantasy Suites, we get to see 2-3 of the season’s strongest contenders wooing our leads with powerful statements of love on camera and even more powerful statements of their index finger off camera. But, of course, this season does not care for tradition or rules of any kind. With double the Bachelorettes, we’re getting double the Fantasy Suites. That’s right: six men, two women. It’s not so much a “Fantasy Suite” as a luxurious harem.
And let’s not forget the seventh man haunting this Mexican hellscape: Clayton. Thought you’d heard the last of him? Well, surprise bitch! You know what they say—you never forget your first (man to humiliate you on national television). Rachel and Gabby open the episode by casually shitting on Clayton, every woman’s favorite foreplay. There’s nothing like dissecting a past relationship in excruciating detail to get you in the mood to fuck other people. Better than a vibrator, amiright ladies?
Let’s get into it!
Fantasy Suite #1: Erich & Gabby
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, but Erich and his silent “h” are growing on me. I am a little surprised immigration let Erich into the country with that mullet, though. Feels illegal somehow.
I’m not the only one happy to see Erich. From the moment he steps onto the scene, Gabby is giddy and giggly and butchering common Spanish slang. Though she puts on a good show of pretending to be into her other men, it’s pretty clear that Erich is her guy. Last week, they bonded over Gabby meeting Erich’s terminally ill father. It was somber, it was sweet, it certainly did not deserve to be cheapened by ABC censoring Gabby’s bikini-clad bottom half as they discussed how special and meaningful the moment was to their relationship.
The two go to “Lover’s Leap,” a lagoon with a rickety structure from which they are supposed to leap, supposedly for trust and romantic purposes. It becomes increasingly evident that the point of this date is not to show any sort of romantic connection between Gabby and Erich. The point of this date is to show that the ABC production head who planned it took one screenwriting class in college and now thinks he’s the Steven Spielberg of creating cinematic metaphors.
GABBY: My heart wants me to leap… off the bridge!! But physically I’m scared to take that leap… off the bridge!!
ERICH: I only jump… off the bridge!! If you jump… off the bridge!!
THE METAPHOR WEIGHING IN:
I hate how they always over-explain these metaphors. Like, you don’t have to tell me that a physical leap is just as scary as an emotional leap. I get it. A baby who has yet to develop their sense of object permanence would get it.
Gabby says that before she can take things to the next level with Erich, she needs to know if he can love her unconditionally, and by that, she means if he’ll be okay if she does some hand stuff with the other guys? I’m picking up what you’re putting down, girly pop.
It does seem like prior to this moment, Erich hadn’t realized that Fantasy Suite dates were a plural thing. Look, this is a guy who saw 30 fast approaching, and his immediate reaction to feeling old was to get a faux-hawk. Something tells me his ego was not built for Fantasy Suites!
Cut to the next morning, and that crinkled silk jammies set tells me that Gabby was able to, ahem, calm his fears. Nothing says “I faked an orgasm but still had a nice time” quite like wrinkled silk.
But Erich is still unsure if he can handle the rest of the week knowing Gabby will be with the other guys. Gabby asks him to have patience with her. She knows it’s Erich in the end, but she wants to at least do some over-the-pants fondling with Johnny before she sends him home. You get it, Erich!
Fantasy Suite #2: Aven & Rachel
Has there ever been a hotter sight than Aven’s bronzed body gallivanting all over the Mexican coast? That man was born to be topless on a yacht. Finally, ABC is giving the people what they want.
Aven and Rachel spend the day boating and basking in each other’s hotness. I have nothing to say about this date. They look good together, but in the way that catalog models look good together promoting the Belk End of Season Sale. I’m also not sure how into any of this Aven actually is. Case in point: during the evening portion of the date, he tells Rachel that he’s “100% ready to be engaged to her next week”, but while his mouth is saying he’s ready, his body language is saying he wants to drown himself in the Gulf. Which is it, buddy?
That does not stop the two of them from spending the night together in the Fantasy Suite. I’m not sure what went on in that suite, but when Rachel emerges the next morning she looks like she survived a goddamn natural disaster. Ya know, if that natural disaster originated in Aven’s pants.
RACHEL: Aven is definitely the full package. The full package.
Say less, Rachel! You have my blessing!
Fantasy Suite #3: Tino & Rachel
While Rachel was busy getting a contact high from Aven’s abs, Tino spent his first few days in Mexico lamenting his relationship status with Rachel. He thought his hometown went great. Sure, his dad fed on Rachel’s spirit like a dementor in Harry Potter, but that’s just how you know he likes you! My favorite is that he brings his whining to Jesse Palmer. Jesse Palmer does not care about your problems. Jesse Palmer is just trying to drink enough piña coladas to feel something again, and Tino won’t stop trying to stir shit up.
But before Tino can hash things out with Rachel, they’ve got to go on their date. I see the production head who conceptualized the Lover’s Leap date is back for round two. He’s not a one-trick pony, even if the instrument for his next metaphor is, in fact, a pony. The two saddle up for a horseback ride through the jungle. Despite the fact that Rachel is doing just fine, Tino can’t seem to get a hold of his steed. He’s like “I haven’t ridden a horse in a while!” and then fails to tame the wild beast between his legs. What, oh what, could ABC be trying to imply here?
Later, Rachel brings up the hometown date from hell. She hasn’t forgotten about when his family tied her to a stake and tried to sacrifice her to wild animals for blessings and a plentiful harvest next season. Rachel is genuinely concerned that Tino’s parents hate her. Meanwhile, Tino deals with the entire situation the same way that I deal with anything that causes me mild anxiety: by blacking out and dissociating entirely.
TINO: I’m not sure why Rachel is so upset? I mean, they did ask her some really penetrating questions, but so what?
ME TO MY TV:
Tino holds firm throughout Rachel’s spiraling. He says that he isn’t worried about their future, and repeats over and over again how much he loves her. I’ll give the guy points for consistency. He’s like “you’re my future, that’s it, they’ll get on board.” Ah, the confidence of a mediocre white man.
Good luck, kids, you’re going to need it!
Fantasy Suite #4: Johnny & Gabby
It’s always fun to watch Johnny and Gabby, because they seem like the kind of couple who meets at a hostel and burns bright for as long as it takes them to get to US Customs. There are no hard feelings after the breakup. They’ll think of each other fondly whenever they look at a stamp in their passport or remember the one time they jumped a turnstile abroad.
To his credit, Johnny seems to be aware of their relationship’s expiration date. When Gabby asks him if he’s ready for an engagement, he seems shocked that she would ask him. Of course he’s not ready for an engagement! He’s here for the free vacations… isn’t she? Does that hair say “commitment” to you, Gabby? Do those capris??
Gabby breaks up with him before they can escalate things to the Fantasy Suite. She’s like “this is my worst fear come to fruition” and, yes, I agree. My worst fear is also getting dumped by a man who looks like he manages bands in Florida. What humiliates us only makes us stronger, hunnie!
Fantasy Suite Date #5: Erich & His Anxiety
Remember when I said a grown man with a mid-life crisis haircut was perhaps not ready for the emotional gymnastics it takes to survive Fantasy Suites? Well, don’t say I didn’t try to warn you, Gabby.
After her date with Johnny, she’s feeling mostly fine about the breakup. So what if she lost out on a guy whose most romantic declaration was calling her “dope”? She’s still got Erich and Jason… right? Right?!
Erich writes Gabby an ominous note telling her to meet him under a bridge. Erich, I’m not trying to critique your methods, but that delivery is the kind of thing a serial killer would do. Girls do not follow unsigned, foreboding notes alone to abandoned locales unless they live in Rosewood, PA, and are being stalked by an entity known only as “A.” They just don’t!
Erich tells Gabby that he doesn’t want her having “what they have” with anyone else. I’m pretty sure what you have is an orgasm and a half between each other, but do carry on. Gabby seems surprised he’s bringing this up again when, apparently, they hashed all of these issues out off-camera. She’s giving him the same look I give my dog when I take her to happy hour and she shits in the grass outside the restaurant. Don’t embarrass us like this, Erich!!
We’ll have to wait until part two to see the conclusion of this fight, as well as Jason and Zach’s dates. Don’t say ABC never gave us anything (even when we explicitly begged them not to). Until then!
Images: ABC (3); Giphy (3); @RyanneProbst (1)
Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! This week, spring break is officially over for the girlies. No more desecrating foreign cultural landmarks with over the clothes fondling, or taking artfully staged photos that make it look like the Eiffel Tower is their penis. The S.S. Fuckboy has docked for the last time, so the women can head off to hometowns.
Personally, this is my favorite episode of every season. More than watching the men emasculate themselves during fetish-forward group dates, more than wanting to disintegrate into my chair when the Bachelorette pretends to orgasm during the fantasy suites, more than shrieking when Neil Lane eventually slithers out of the hole ABC holds him hostage in to pander his last-season diamonds to whatever schmuck is still standing—more than any of that, hometowns are my jam. There is literally nothing quite like them.
This is the moment where things stop being polite and start getting real (and by “real”, I mean the lead pretending they might move to a town that only just got a Walmart last year). This is the time in the season when we get to see where these guys hail from. The houses that built them, if you will. Some of these houses are beacons of light and domesticity, the likes of which make you wonder how a human being raised in such a setting could grow up to be this person wearing skinny jeans and promoting his tequila brand on Instagram. Then, there are other houses that are being held together with nothing but the fruits of the HomeGoods sales their mothers frequent in order to feel something. And hometown dates are so important to The Bachelorette process! How will you know if you’re truly ready for marriage unless you’ve witnessed firsthand the cycle of familial trauma that haunts these highly attractive, upper-middle class gene pools? How?
This season, we’ll be witnessing even more trauma than normal, because we’re getting double the hometowns. Gabby heads home with Jason, Johnny, and Erich; Rachel with Zach, Tyler, Tino, and Aven. I will do my very best to be as detailed and thorough as possible, so that when future generations are studying our culture in a million years, they can point to this and marvel at how intellectually inferior we were. Like we do with the cave men and their sad fire-starting sticks. Let’s get into it!
Hometown #1: Jason In New Orleans, Louisiana
First up is Gabby’s visit to Jason’s hometown of New Orleans. Imagine your hometown being New Orleans. Jesus Christ, no wonder Jason is so reserved. All this time I thought he just wasn’t that into Gabby, but it turns out he’s really seen some shit. At one point he says that he can’t wait to show Gabby what he loves about this town, and then the two proceed to throw beads at drunks and ask people on the street to strip. This is the thing he “loves” about this town. Berating drunks and mild nudity. The childhood this guy must have had.
JASON AS A CHILD ON THESE STREETS:
Gabby meets the family and they are surprisingly well adjusted. Booooo. The dad is especially heart-melting to watch, as he speaks more words in his three minutes of screen time than Jason has spoken in his entire tenure on this show. The rest of his family are fine, though Jason’s mom is doing some sort of Priscilla Presley cosplay that is especially unsettling to behold. Jason’s sister appears way too excited about having an F-list celebrity in the family. She’s like “it’s weird, but I’m ready for their wedding”, and you can practically see the sponsorship deals dancing in her head.
The most surprising moment comes at the end of the date, when Jason lets it slip that he’s not ready to get engaged… ever. EXCUSE ME? He doesn’t want to get engaged, but goes on a show where the sole purpose is to produce a marriage?? Is that what you’re telling me right now??
JASON: I don’t know if I’m ready to be engaged
Of course, Jason tells Gabby none of this. He whispers it secretly to his mother and her Bump It, hoping she’ll hold that secret as securely as her hairspray is holding that hair three inches above her head. Neither Gabby nor Jason says anything about falling in love with each other–a proclamation that typically occurs during hometowns after a suitor’s family doesn’t immediately unhinge their jaws and consume the interloper. As far as hometowns go, it’s downright platonic. Where is the drama? The high-octane emotions? She could be meeting Jason’s chiropractor for all the emotional depth Gabby has with him and his family. This lack of emotional connection doesn’t bode well for the rest of the hometowns…
Hometown #2: Zach In Mattel’s Headquarters
Up next is Rachel, and she visits the Mattel factory in which Zach and his family were forged. They’re part of a new line of Barbie, the Politically Neutral Barbie, that wears mostly denim and khaki, and comes complete with a Barbie backyard barbecue set bedecked in twinkle lights and last season’s farmhouse decor.
Here’s the thing: I don’t need to see any more of Zach. The most interesting thing about him is that he spells his name with a “ch” instead of just a “c.” Seriously, what do we even know about this guy aside from the home movies thing and the pilot fetish? That he’s family oriented? Who isn’t family oriented?? Who is going to be like “nah, fuck my family” on a show that contractually obligates you to sacrifice your family’s legacy for the sake of ABC’s ratings? Literally no one.
To their credit, Zach’s family does act the appropriate amount of scandalized that their son wants to marry a woman he only just met six weeks ago.
ZACH’S DAD TO RACHEL: I mean, you go to the most romantic places on Earth, and you’ll fall in love with a monkey.
Sir, don’t insult the monkeys.
As if to emphasize that there is nothing between these two beyond the sum of their own egos, ABC plays them ANOTHER home movie, this time of their love story. You guys, this is so, so, so, so dumb. And what’s worse? This highlights reel of their love story is longer than the “compelling” footage production could string together of the hometown. Zach’s date takes up a whopping seven minutes of our two-hour hometowns journey, and it’s about six minutes too long.
Hometown #3: Johnny In Palm Beach, Florida
Of course Johnny is from Florida. What little I know of this man is that he frequently wears acid wash jeans and felt right at home with a Dutch mistress licking hot wax off his happy trail. That he willingly claims Florida as his home suddenly makes so much sense, just like Gabby showing up in a corset top makes so much sense. She’s not just meeting any family; she’s meeting a Florida family. That is the appropriate attire for such an occasion.
Like Zach, Johnny’s hometown barely makes a dent in the episode’s narrative. The only thing I recall about his family is that his dad wore far too much Brooks Brothers for a man who raised a bunch of sons that look like wannabe band managers. Gabby connects with his family, but there’s no depth to that connection. Like Jason, Johnny also admits to being hesitant in taking the next step with Gabby. My god, does anyone want to propose to this woman?? You know, the thing they signed up to do??
They part ways on chummy terms, like when you go long-distance with your camp boyfriend. The almost-sexually-gratifying hand stuff was fun while it lasted, but after a few pen pal letters written with your best Lisa Frank pens, it’s time to move on to the real thing.
Hometown #4: Tyler In His Boardwalk Empire
I should have known things would not go well during Tyler’s hometown when his first stop on the Tour of Tyler was to show Rachel the saddest beach boardwalk in existence. I don’t know much about Tyler’s hometown of Wildwood, NJ (I prefer my New Jersey beach towns to be actually civilized), but this boardwalk is haunting to behold. It looks like the kind of place where a body would be found in a Law & Order episode. And yet, Tyler is beaming. He is thriving in this ghost town, this coastal graveyard where the human spirit surely goes to die.
Despite not one (living) soul frequenting this boardwalk, every business is open, and the carnies all know Tyler. I’m starting to worry that Tyler’s bio line of “business owner” has been somewhat misleading. Here I thought “business owner” meant that he did real estate, or at the very least dabbled in Bitcoin. Now, I worry that his “business” is that he owns one of these boardwalk game stands. Is it really a business if you just pay rent on a Ms. Pac-Man, Ty? Hmm?
Rachel takes one look at his carnie beginnings and is immediately horrified. After an afternoon spent meeting Tyler’s friends, who run the off-brand Nathan’s Hotdog stand, she quietly excuses herself to cry in a Wildwood bathroom. This is bleak. This is not a chapter in your epic love story. This is a chapter in your therapist’s ever-growing file on your emotional traumas.
Rachel knows she has to break it off with him before she meets his family. She’s not in love with Tyler. They’re from two different worlds. She was raised in suburban Florida, and he was raised in a circus tent. It could never work.
She sits him down to have “the talk”, but Tyler can’t quite grasp that Rachel is actually breaking up with him. No, he thinks her intense crying is a sign of her intense feelings for him. Oh, sweetie. No. He proceeds to express every single emotion that has ever penetrated his soft boy body. He’s practically a human gusher, high fructose corn syrup leaking out of every heartfelt word. As he talks, Rachel stares, horrified, directly at the cameras, The Office-style. This is the first time I’ve ever genuinely thought ABC deserved an Emmy for their camera work.
In Tyler’s defense, he’s saying some incredibly nice things about a woman whose coat is stylistically offensive. Imagine getting dumped by this:
Tyler is still smiling even as he enters his family home alone. They’re like, “where is she, Ty??”, and their hopeful smiles will haunt me in the afterlife. This is low, even for ABC. It’s a level of emotional torture we rarely see on this show, and I’m sort of at a loss for words.
Hometown #5: Erich In Bedminster, New Jersey
As much as I hate rooting for this man and his silent “h”, I do think Erich and Gabby have the most chemistry. This feeling is only reinforced for me when Erich tells us that Gabby will be meeting his terminally ill father. Okay, I’m crying in the club.
This is maybe the heaviest hometown I’ve ever witnessed in all my years watching this godforsaken show. The focus isn’t even really on Gabby so much as this family trying to hold things together. This feels raw—almost too personal to be watching as I guzzle boxed wine and eat frozen pizza. I’m not emotionally equipped to deal with genuine human emotions on a Monday night. When Erich’s mom starts crying and saying that love is not giving up on each other, even my blackened heart is crying uncle.
Later, Erich tells Gabby that he’s falling in love with her, and she reciprocates. It’s all very sweet and romantic. I’m even willing to forgive Gabby when she promptly straddles his lap in the middle of the restaurant, in front of god and that man just trying to eat his calamari, to suck face. You get one of those, Gabby. Just one!
Hometown #6: Tino In Santa Clarita, California
Finally, my favorite baby back bitch is on screen again, and his family is already delivering. Tino’s hometown is like watching one of those Animal Planet videos. You know, the one where the predator plays with its food, giving well-placed strikes designed to produce maximum pain? Tino’s family is that apex predator.
From the moment they meet Rachel, the family is out for blood. They aren’t pulling any punches. Tino’s dad asks how they could possibly be ready for marriage after only knowing each other a short amount of time. His mom goes so far as to reduce their love story to playtime. I think her exact words are, “this isn’t real, call me when you get to the real world.” I screamed. Tino’s mom, you aren’t supposed to say the quiet part out loud!
But the worst of it comes when Rachel sits down with Tino’s dad. He spends their short interaction sautéing what little is left of Rachel’s self esteem. He demands that Rachel convince him that she knows his son. Sir, is that really fair? She might not know who his best friend is, or his darkest fear, or even his last name, but she does know stuff about him! Ask her what the ridge of his penis feels like semi-erect, or that thing his tongue does. Ask her! Go on!
Through it all, Rachel’s southern upbringing is working overtime to salvage the date. At the end of the night she even whispers, in the most submissive tone possible, “thank you for being so welcoming”, as she looks straight into the gaping maw of hell itself. Oh, bless your heart.
TINO: Well, I think they adored you.
HAHAHAHA. My god, men will say anything to get their dicks wet. “Adored” is not the word I would use to describe their feelings towards Rachel. “Mentally poisoning her spray tan formula” is perhaps a better interpretation of their feelings. I mean, the last time a family meet-and-greet went this well, a blood feud started in Verona.
RACHEL & TINO @ TINO’S FAMILY:
And that’s all she wrote, folks! Next week, Aven rounds out the hometown dates before The Men Tell All. Also next week, we’ll (hopefully) find out who is making it to the fantasy suites, assuming Jesse Palmer isn’t too busy cracking himself up with these Bachelor ads to enforce any real rules. Until then!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (5)
Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! Last week, we got a taste of how this season would play out—and let me tell you, there were far too many milky white thighs involved for my comfort level. ‘Tis my cross to bear, I suppose…
But this week the ladies are refocused. After a rocky rose ceremony where they banished a man who dared to have opinions about their sex lives beyond “I will worship the lint between your toes if it means you might breathe in my direction some day,” they’re feeling pretty good about themselves. They have all the control. They hold all the power.
ABC PRODUCERS WATCHING THIS EXCHANGE FROM AFAR:
Ladies, ladies, ladies. That isn’t how this show works! Female empowerment doesn’t inspire higher ratings; misogyny and mild nudity does! Get with the program.
As if to illustrate this point, the cameras cut to the men, who are discussing which of the women make them feel tingly down there. No, no, no, NO. You do not get a say in this. Your job is to sit there and look pretty. Nothing else. Once they open their mouths, the fantasy is ruined.
The problem is the men are starting to realize they have options. Have you ever read If You Give A Mouse A Cookie? The cautionary tale of giving lesser species (in the book’s case, rodents; in the show’s case, men) a modicum of choice and control. Do you know how that book ends? With the mouse making grabby hands at every shiny object in sight. The men are doing something similar here. Instead of considering Gabby and Rachel’s feelings, they’re focused entirely on who *they* want to be with. I’m sorry, but if I wanted to listen to a man named Meatball wax poetic about who makes his nipples hard, I would interact with the comments section of a Barstool article. You never give the
Meatball mouse a cookie. You get that asshole a rat trap.
Sparks Are Flyin’
Before I get to the doom and gloom of the episode, let’s talk about the high points: the one-on-one dates. Rachel in particular struggled with her one-on-one date last week and ended up sending the pore-less Jordan home. He and his skin care routine will be missed.
This week things go a bit smoother for her. She invites Zach on her date, which is quickly crashed by Queer Eye’s Karamo. Wow, I definitely thought Queer Eye paid better than this. Karamo says that he just had to be a part of the fun—he loves Rachel so much! I would believe him more if he didn’t direct those statements to a random mannequin instead of Rachel. I don’t know what kind of Real World blackmail ABC has on that man, but if he’s gracing our television screens tonight then it can’t be anything good.
Karamo sends them to “an exclusive movie premiere” but not before styling Rachel like Oscar the Grouch first. (Seriously, that outfit was so mean of them). The “exclusive movie premiere” is not, as I guessed, a private screening of He’s Just Not That Into You (ABC clearly doesn’t understand comedic timing). The movie they’re attending is not even a movie so much as a cinematic scrapbook of their childhoods. Home movies on a first date should be illegal. Footage of me during a time in my life when I had unsupervised access to a hair crimper and body glitter? That’s not romantic, that’s a war crime.
^^12 year old me treating my shopping trip to Claire’s like a religious experience
Though watching home movies is a specific ring of hell for me, Rachel and Zach seem into it—and into each other. The two find out that they have so much in common: they were both once children and have watched a plane before (I paraphrase). Dare I say… they’re cute?
But not as cute as Gabby’s three-on-one date with Grandpa John and Erich. When I say I screamed at the sight of that old man and his knitwear. I have never been so happy in my life to see a man return to this show. I can’t wait to watch Grandpa John’s look of abject horror at learning how Erich spells his name.
Speaking of Erich, I can’t get a good read on him. He’s polite and engaging with Gabby and her grandpa, but does he seem to like Gabby particularly? I can’t tell. This becomes especially apparent during their alone time together. Erich is all for feeling Gabby up during the bowling excursion (hands, Erich!! Grandpa John is right there!!), but he struggles to comfort Gabby when she shows more complicated emotions.
During the dinner portion of the evening, she tells him a little about being estranged from her mother. At one point she even says that lack of maternal love has broken her in some way. Erich’s response? To stare longingly at his dinner plate in the hopes that it might transport him to an alternate dimension where he doesn’t have to deal with a woman and her emotions. Jesus Christ, Erich. I know you thought you’d end dinner with some light groping, but the human condition is a little messier than the condition tenting your pants rn. Have a heart, not a hard-on!
I will say, Gabby has never been more relatable than when she abandons the dinner table to cry in a corner with her white wine. That doesn’t make watching Gabby’s breakdown any easier. She’s been struggling this whole episode. She doesn’t think she’s deserving of being the Bachelorette and wonders if Rachel is more of a natural fit for the role. This is expressly what I did not want to see this season. They need to stop comparing themselves to each other (there’s no logic to that) and start comparing the men to the shit on their shoes (there is logic in that).
Erich eventually comforts Gabby—but only after she’s guzzled another bottle of wine and prophesied a future wherein she dies alone with only her dog to find her rotting remains. What I’m saying is, he waited far too long to get his ass in gear. He handles the whole thing very politely. But that’s just it: it’s polite, not genuine. I’ve seen Delta representatives show more compassion than what Erich’s giving me right now.
Erich, I’m watching you…
Men Do Not Deserve To Have Brains
This next part of the recap is a section I like to call: “Strong Evidence Against Men Being Allowed To Have Brains.” And let me tell you, the science is compelling! As I mentioned earlier, the men are starting to think this season is all about them. If there’s one thing I don’t want to see on my Monday night, it’s men exercising their rights. In fact, I would be totally fine with ABC keeping the men corralled in a pit underground, only to be brought out for dates and aesthetic purposes. But of course this franchise is not interested in my wants and needs. They’d much rather play a game of Jenga with the women’s emotional states. After all, who wants to watch strong, capable women navigate their emotional depths when you can watch production sauté their self-esteem so a guy with a man bun can feel like the biggest stud in the room?
Which brings me to my working hypothesis: men should not be allowed to have brains. I’m not convinced they entirely have them in the first place, but they definitely shouldn’t be allowed access to whatever sad synapses that do manage to fire off. Let’s look at the evidence:
Exhibit A: Bromance > Romance
During Rachel’s date with Zach, Gabby heads to the house for a casual hang. First of all, I could have told her that nothing good comes of a casual hang. The last time I got conned into one of those, it ended with him asking for my Snapchat handle and Venmoing me for half the six-pack he picked up.
Do the men take advantage of the extra alone time with their Bachelorette? Lol, as if! No, they would prefer to spend the day playing slap and tickle with each other.
It’s just… sad to watch. Gabby is doing her best to pretend like their disinterest isn’t bothering her, but there’s only so many times a girl can yell “nice fumble!!” before she slips into a catatonic state. I give her props for lasting as long as she did.
Exhibit B: Blood In The Water
Things only get worse for Gabby during the group date, when a large faction of the men give her the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech. In fact, it feels like almost every guy on the group date (and there are 19 of them!!) are not interested in dating Gabby. First of all, it’s week three. You’ve known Gabby and Rachel for less time than it takes me to do a load of laundry. You don’t know either of these women enough to write one of them off. YOU FUCKERS.
Not only are they not interested in Gabby, but they also vocalize these feelings with about as much sensitivity as an atomic bomb. I’ve seen sharks play with their food in more humane ways than what’s happening on my screen rn.
The worst offenders by far are Hayden and Jacob. Hayden tells Gabby that she’s more “rough around the edges” than he’d like for a wife, insinuating that Rachel is somehow “better” than Gabby. Then Jacob tells her that even if she was the last woman on Earth he would not compete for her attention. He’s like, “yeah even if you were my only option on this show, I wouldn’t want to date you.” Jacob, you look like you masturbate to your own headshots. Are you really one to talk about options?
Gabby spends the rest of the date crying off-camera. She doesn’t give out a rose. In fact, she looks like she would rather live the rest of her life in a bunker than interact with any of these men for a second longer. I can’t say I blame her.
Exhibit C: The Men Go Rogue
But perhaps where we really see the wheels come off is when the men simply don’t understand the assignment during the rose ceremony. In response to the group date, the women decide to have two separate journeys from here on out. There will be a set group of guys for Gabby and a set group of guys for Rachel. The women will be handing out roses to their guys, and the guys will only get to date the woman whose rose they accept. This is what should have happened from the beginning, but I get the sense that ABC didn’t want to have to do double the filming. The result is this farce of a season.
As the rose ceremony begins, Gabby looks like she is bracing herself for combat. Meanwhile, Rachel is confident in a way that makes me think production is about to screw her. At first, everything is fine. They both hand out a few roses without being rejected. The only downside is that the rose receivers start calling themselves “the winner’s circle.” That tells me everything I need to know about how serious these guys are about marriage. They’re like, air humping each other with their roses, for Christ’s sake. I’m sickened.
But still, at least the women’s dignity is intact… until it isn’t. Overly confident Rachel is the first to watch shit crumble. Termayne says he can’t accept Rachel’s rose when he’s really here for Gabby. That in itself is shocking. She’s getting rejected in public, in front of men she’s still trying to date. Then Jesse Palmer materializes like the bridge troll he is, only instead of accepting his payment in riddles, he strips Rachel of her roses. That’s right. Not only does Rachel get rejected, but they’re taking her roses from her. They’re punishing her for the men’s insolence. It gets worse. Alec turns Rachel down, followed by Meatball. Let me emphasize: Meatball turned a human woman down. Meatball!!!
This is so fucked. I’m seething. What kind of misogynistic hell realm have we fallen into where humiliating women on national television is supposed to be good wholesome fun? I hate ABC for doing this to us. I hate myself for not having enough rosé to dull this edge.
By the end of the episode we have our camps: Team Gabby vs. Team Rachel. The line-up looks like this:
Team Gabby: Nate, Johnny, Spencer, Jason, Mario, Kirk, Quincey, Michael, Erich
Team Rachel: Tino, Logan, Tyler, Ethan, Jordan, Hayden, Aven, Zach
We’ll have to wait until next week to see if the men are any more well-behaved… I think hell might freeze over first. Until then!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (3)
Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! Last week, ABC debuted a new kind of love story for us Bachelor Nation plebs. Instead of watching one woman survive a wasteland of overly-groomed men (I paraphrase), this season we get to watch two best friends on their journey to find love! Two best friends, or at least two individuals who are contractually obligated to promote the same products on Instagram for the next 6-12 months. You get the gist.
For a season that promised big drama and even bigger love stories, the season opener left me unimpressed. But perhaps I just had unreasonably high hopes. The Bachelorette is, after all, my favorite ABC abomination. Why? Because the women seemingly have some control over the narrative. You want to fuck a guy in a windmill? Fine. You want to abandon your season after 10 days to run away with a Party City model? Also fine. Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine. This season, NOTHING IS FINE. There are simply no rules—just ask Jesse Palmer! Oh, wait. You can’t. At all times, he is silent and stone-faced in the background, watching as Gabby and Rachel essentially descend into that scene from The Lion King where Scar’s hyenas catcall Simba on his way to Pride Rock. He emphasizes that this is Gabby and Rachel’s thing, and he’s just here for support. What kind of support? Well, he can gesture vaguely in the direction of the open bar.
The lack of rules and structure bleeds into their dates, and the amount of effort the men are putting into said dates. They’re starting to understand that they can reasonably date two women at once. In fact, it’s encouraged! Why intimately get to know one woman when you can make surface level small talk and maybe get to make out with two?
It doesn’t help that Gabby and Rachel’s approach to everything is to act cool girl casual at all times. The way they’ve set up the dates feels less romantic and formal, and more like a frat party gone awry. There aren’t even enough beds in the house for everyone! Within the first few minutes of the episode, we’re told that the housing accommodations are something akin to the Fyre Festival’s. The cameras pan to a slew of bunk beds that could double as set pieces from Orange is the New Black. I would not be surprised if production enacted some sort of Hunger Games-style cornucopia where the guys battle it out for linens and toothpaste.
While the season hasn’t totally gone off the rails yet, it’s getting there. You can see the strain in Gabby and Rachel’s relationship with each other (they’re still acting tentative about who they like and if it’s okay to like the same guys) and with the men. And on that very foreboding note (can’t wait to tell my old creative writing professor that, SEE, I do know how to write tension), let’s get into the episode!
The Group Date: There Are Some Things Your Eyes Can’t Unsee
You know that thing I said about there being no structure, and how that anarchy was fueling the format of the dates? That starts with the group date. Normally, group dates serve two purposes: to humiliate the contestants and simultaneously restore my faith in justice and the universe. Group dates are also structured like my friend’s baby’s playdates: everybody pretends to be on their best behavior, or else they won’t get a little treat afterwards. There’s usually an activity and then some sort of afterparty. A rose is given out to the most well-behaved good boy. This group date is all of those things and none of those things. Instead of the group date revolving around a structured activity, it’s more of a clothing-optional hang.
Gabby and Rachel invite the men to compete in a “pageant.” I’m using that term very loosely here, because “pageant” implies we will witness a modicum of talent, and not a man known only by the name of “meatball” lasciviously pouring meat sauce down his hairy chest like he’s Paris Hilton in a Hardee’s commercial.
To be fair, the ladies did only give the men 28 minutes to prep their acts, 26 of which were used to apply an obscene amount of body oil, and the last two reserved for calling their mommies to remind them what special boys they are. The amount of preparation shows. There are just some things my eyes can’t unsee. At one point my roommate, who watches this show only after I’ve bribed her with wine and cheese, but who always leaves an hour into every episode, gasps and says “are they allowed to show this many little penises?” Yes. In fact, I think that’s entirely the point. And there are so many penises. That little black bar is working harder than ABC’s producers for its holiday bonus.
Where is Jesse Palmer during this showcasing of fragile masculinity? Mentally, he’s doing push-ups at the sight of all those exposed pecs. In actuality, he is telling us that the winners of this “pageant” will get invited to an exclusive afterparty. The way he says “afterparty” has the same vibe as the guy who drove the party bus at my friend’s 30th birthday party. He also invited us to his timeshare in Florida after handing us his album Girls Kissing Girls.
JESSE: The winners will be invited to an exclusive afterparty!
JESSE PALMER IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THAT STATEMENT:
The “pageant” is about as horrific as you might expect. One guy does the worm and pretends his ballsack didn’t just slip out of his speedo. A lot of guys—too many guys—are into juggling. Tino wishes he didn’t skip leg day. Jacob, the guy who looks like a housewife’s mid-life crisis, straddles a chair (again, why is no one concerned about what may or may not fall out of their speedo) and goes through a Powerpoint on fixed-rate mortgages. Chris commits a crime against my eardrums and starts singing. How Gabby and Rachel are supposed to pick winners from this shocking display of talent, I do not know.
In the end they do pick winners—six of them—and Aven, Logan, Brandan, Jason, Johnny, and Colin are all invited to the afterparty. Do not ask me to elaborate on details such as what their talents were, or even how to describe their physical builds. As of right now, they are all still faceless mannequins to me.
While Gabby seems to hit it off with a few people, Rachel really struggles through the cocktail party. After some truly titillating conversations about *checks notes* how many American states she’s visited and what Harry Potter house she would be sorted into, Rachel is wondering where the nearest interstate is so she can walk straight into oncoming traffic. The feeling intensifies when Jason tells her he’s only into Gabby, and then immediately after that conversation she stumbles upon Gabby making out with Johnny (a guy she already called dibs on).
JASON: I’m actually here for… Gabby 😬
RACHEL: hahahahahahahahaha!!! Omg that’s totally fine!!! hahahahahahaha!!!!
Rachel’s experience on this date—a dinner party where there is minimal alcohol and you are constantly rejected—is definitely an outer ring of hell. So, it’s no wonder that by the night’s end she has strong-armed the last guy at the afterparty into a guest bedroom. Goddamnit, she wants to get felt up by a potted plant just like every other Bachelorette on this franchise! Logan says all the right things. He tells her she’s brave for coming on the show and that she inspired him during the “pageant” (reminder: his talent was the doing the worm). This would all be fun and cute (especially after they go to town making out on that guest bed!) if not for the fact that Logan has that exact same conversation with Gabby… and also makes out with her.
See, this is why I’m advocating for more structure and rules. Logan is getting way too comfortable about dating two women at once. He is literally rinsing and repeating his conversations.
Gabby, for the most part, is having fun. She seems to be genuinely enjoying the process, while Rachel worries constantly about finding “the one.” The only time things get weird is when Rachel reveals she made out with Logan and Gabby has to pretend she’s happy about that. She lets Rachel choose Logan for her group date rose, while Gabby chooses Johnny.
The One-On-One Dates
The one-on-one dates prove equally challenging for Rachel. She chooses Jordan, the race car driver from Georgia, to go on a zero-gravity plane ride. I have a few comments. First, I’d just like to know what Jordan’s skin care routine is because damn that boy is fresh-faced. My god, does he even have any pores? Second, I need more logistics about what a zero-gravity date entails. I looked it up, and in order to hit zero gravity they have to be flying through that layer of ether thingie right before space (“layer of ether thingie” is the technical term). How is it legal for two people who are not astronauts to just take a spin in the ether? How many holes are they creating in the ozone layer so Rachel can straddle him mid-air?
I will say, Rachel looks great. This whole zero-gravity thing is like a hair commercial for her.
But when they land, gravity hits hard. Don’t get me wrong, Jordan does everything he’s supposed to. He talks about how their lifestyles align (pilots and race car drivers are notoriously very similar professions in that they… both require a license?). He even brings up his parents’ divorce and appropriately dramatizes the split so it mirrors the PTSD of a Vietnam war vet. But none of it works for Rachel. She’s just not feeling it. She asks the producers if she can send him home, and I would genuinely like to know the answer to that question. What if Gabby was into him? Does she have to run her decision by Gabby? Who gets the final say over cutting a guy loose?
The answer to these questions is apparently “WHO CARES about Gabby, and I’m sending this guy home.” Rachel tells Jordan that she won’t give him the rose, but she does want to know what nighttime moisturizer he uses. Or is that just me? I’m actually astounded he’s just allowed to walk off the premise without Gabby having a say in any of this. Again… what! are! the! rules!
Meanwhile, Gabby’s one-on-one date goes a bit better. For her date she chooses Nate, the girl dad who wears more accessories than a Claire’s clearance rack. This is not a dig at Nate. Nate is hot and Nate stood up for the ladies when Chris was slut shaming them for sex acts they have yet to complete (more on that later). Nate seems very in touch with his feelings, as evidenced by the fact that he can’t stop crying (okay, I’ll admit that part was a bit of a drag). He also seems very in touch with his tongue down the back of Gabby’s throat.
The energy between them feels natural and easy. I mean, yes, Gabby does have a private helicopter pick them up like it’s a goddamn Uber, but for the most part their date is super normal. I’m rooting for these two. For now…
Worst Storyline: Chris As A Villain
Chris started off the episode by declaring himself a triple threat: a sports enthusiast, a music man, and a leader. Somewhere in a dance studio in LA, Beyoncé just stumbled during her choreo. Then, impossibly, Chris got even worse: he sang. Well, it was less singing and more tunelessly stringing together random words, but the overall effect will haunt my nightmares until my dying day. But the singing could have been forgiven had I only had enough wine to find it tolerable (my box ran out). What really sealed Chris’ fate for me was when he started running his mouth about the fantasy suites.
Why was Chris talking about the fantasy suites during week two? Why does a man offer any opinion unprompted? Why does a bear shit in the woods? Because they simply cannot control themselves. Chris says that when—not if—he goes to fantasy suites, he has a few deal breakers for the girls. Namely, that they not be intimate with anyone else.
CHRIS: If the female has sex with someone else, I wouldn’t be interested in that person being the person I’m with.
Slut shaming? In this economy, Christopher??
Chris is already trying to control the sexual choices these women make, and he hasn’t even so much as breathed in their direction this season. The audacity straight, mediocre men have is astounding.
I will say that it’s nice to see the other men quickly jump to Gabby and Rachel’s defenses. Nate gives an impassioned speech where he says that Chris needs to have more respect for these women. They could be their queens or the mothers of their children! Y’all. He called Gabby and Rachel queens!! The last time a guy called me anything it was by the wrong name, and as he was asking if I could buy him another Bud Light. So, yes, I am crying in the club right now.
During the rose ceremony, some of the guys tell Rachel about Chris’ presumptions. She keeps nodding her head but you can tell she has no idea who this “Chris” is. I’m glad she was able to block out his singing. I have not been so fortunate.
Gabby and Rachel confront Chris who looks as if women giving opinions is something he’s never encountered before. He’s like “no, no, no you misunderstood. I said it exactly that way but that’s only because I start a relationship at the ending and then work backwards from there!” He works his way backwards?? What does that even mean?? I do love when a man starts our relationship by immediately telling me the theoretical ways I’ll betray him in the future and how I should start making up for it. It does wonders for my blood pressure.
But Gabby and Rachel are having none of it. They’ve been entertaining an entire fleet of men for 10 days straight. They’re exhausted, and they can’t keep anyone’s names straight anymore. They especially don’t have time for Chris and his fan fiction. He can tap dance his way home.
This Week’s Body Count (Who Goes Home):
And finally, this week’s body count. Here’s who Gabby and Rachel kicked to the curb:
- Race car Jordan (one-on-one date)
- Music Man Chris (cocktail party/rose ceremony)
- Boston Ryan (rose ceremony elimination)
- A rando named Brandon (rose ceremony elimination)
- A rando named Colin (rose ceremony elimination)
- A rando named Matt (rose ceremony elimination)
- A rando named Justin (rose ceremony elimination)
- A rando named John (rose ceremony elimination)
And that’s all she wrote for this week! Until we meet again!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (6)
Welcome back to another very exciting episode of The Bachelorette! I’m calling this episode “very exciting” because this is the moment in the season when Michelle becomes the reason the guidance counselor at her school has to work overtime come fall. That’s right, people: fantasy suite dates are here! Unlike the past few seasons of The Bachelor/ette, Michelle and her men are actually allowed to travel beyond the property line of whatever hotel ABC has been holding them hostage in these last few weeks. Fun! Truly, I think it is so much fun that ABC deemed it too unsafe for Michelle to travel for hometowns, but a Mexican Marriott for fantasy suites is totally fine. It really gives a whole new meaning to that phrase “risking it for the biscuit.”
All jokes aside, fantasy suites are an important stage of these producer-manipulated relationships. For one, it’s the first time that Michelle is allowed to spend complete alone time with any of the men. It’s during that alone time that she can gauge how strong her emotional connections are with each of them—or at least gauge how strong her aversions are to finger-blasting as foreplay. Only time will tell!
Brandon’s Fantasy Suite Date
First up this week is Brandon, who looks like his idea of foreplay includes gentle eye contact and a Spotify mashup of Hallmark Christmas movie soundtracks. My feelings are only reinforced during the day portion of their date when they go on a romantic horseback ride through the jungle. At one point Brandon says he can’t ride horses, and I feel like this is a metaphor for his bedroom habits. In fact, the anxious “yeehaw” he lets out as they ride off into the jungle is probably the fun new “kink” he lists on his Bumble profile when this is all over.
I think my problem with Brandon is that he cannot be taken seriously. His emotional angst ranks right up there with one of my diary entries from sophomore year and it’s unsettling to watch, let alone root for. Case in point is this little exchange:
BRANDON: I can’t wait to literally rip my heart out, throw it on the table, and just say, do what you want with it, because it only beats for you at this point.
Brandon! You can’t just go around telling people how you feel! What are you, eight? Grow up.
Later, Brandon tells Michelle that he loves her and is this the part where he asks her to wear his letterman? Are they going steady now? I’m not shocked at all that Brandon is the type to make bold proclamations before sex. In fact, I think his climax absolutely depends on it. What I am shocked about is how into it Michelle seems. In fact, every single time she hangs out with Brandon she seems taken aback by her response to him. It’s like she knows he’s fully embarrassing but can’t stop herself from being into it.
I will say that I’m not convinced any fantasies were actually enacted in that hotel suite. Though they do spend the night together, the next morning they both sit suspiciously clothed and with a healthy amount of distance between their bodies. It’s not immediately clear that they’ve done anything other than wear Korean face masks and binge watch HGTV. I suppose only time will tell…
Joe’s Fantasy Suite Date
I’m worried about Joe this week. It seems like Mexico—and having to listen to his girlfriend fake an orgasm with other guys through the adjoining wall—has not been good for his mental health. Wild. Out of all of the guys, he’s struggling the most with the idea of fantasy suites and, I’ll admit, I’m getting some sick satisfaction out of his reaction. I love that the guy WHO GHOSTED HER is the most torn up about this. I guess emotional sabotage is only a turn on when he’s the one in control of it.
Overall, their date isn’t super impressive to me. I’ve never really understood Michelle’s connection to Joe beyond his physical attractiveness and this date in paradise continues to perplex me. They go ziplining and it’s maybe the first time I’ve heard Joe speak above the lowest decibel a human ear can hear. Michelle interprets the screams he emits from ziplining as Joe “opening up” to her and not Joe’s anxiety completely taking control of his bodily reactions. Tomato, tahmato.
Michelle is really trying her damnedest to pull an intimate, emotional connection out of Joe and the best Joe can give her is this:
My problem with Joe is that their whole connection seems to hinge on basketball and their physical attraction to one another. Take basketball out of the equation and the two are struggling to engage in ways that aren’t single syllable grunts. I mean, I think I have more free-flowing conversations with my dog, for god’s sake.
No matter, Michelle decides to give him another chance and invites him to spend the night with her. I’m sure that decision had everything to do with her very real feelings for him and nothing at all to do with the very real feelings his DMs made her feel in her vagina all those months ago. Yep. There’s no way this can go wrong.
Nayte’s Fantasy Suite Date
Even though Nayte’s date is last this week, he seems the most unconcerned about the fantasy suites situation. While the rest of the guys agonized over if their girlfriend had given a half-hearted handy to another guy in the room, Nayte seemed more concerned that this conversation might cut into the hotel’s continental breakfast time.
BRANDON AND JOE: I’m sick to my stomach thinking this girl I’m in love with is possibly falling more in love with someone else right now.
NAYTE, ALREADY ONE MOJITO DEEP:
If anything Nayte seems more inclined to torture those around him than to feel any sort of torment regarding the situation himself. He’s like “hey, Brandon! What do you think Michelle and Joe are doing on their date? Soaking up that Vitamin D? Haha! Get it?!” Never mind that Brandon was already sitting there looking absolutely haunted. After that comment he’s going to spend the rest of the day actively trying not to imagine what else the guy who can spin a basketball on his finger might be doing with said fingers.
When the guys try to rattle Nayte by asking why he’s not more upset, he says that he’s just that confident in his connection with Michelle. And here’s the thing: Nayte has every right to feel confident in their relationship. Their chemistry is palpable. My god, their yachting date?? I have not seen a couple this attractive on the open seas since I grew out of my Pirates of the Caribbean phase. Have mercy.
You know who isn’t quite as confident in their connection? Michelle. She says that she’s worried she has stronger feelings for him than he has for her. Lol. Well of course you do, honey! It took the man 20 years to say the “L” word to the people who raised him. He probably doesn’t even sign his coworkers’ birthday cards, lest they get the wrong idea about their relationship and think they’re actually chummy.
MICHELLE: Is there anything on your mind you want to say to me before I read the fantasy suite date card?
I will say Michelle is persistent about getting the answer she wants to hear. When it becomes clear that they will sit outside in their own stink and perspiration until he says he loves her, then and only then does he break down and say he loves her, now please can they just go have sex now? Absolutely swoon.
If I had doubts about what Michelle was doing with Brandon and Joe in the fantasy suites, I have no such qualms about her activities with Nayte. The morning after footage shows clothes askew, her makeup is half on his face, some of Nayte’s body jewelry is still caught up in her hair. There is no mistaking what went down here tonight (spoiler: it was Nayte).
And fuck, if the two of them don’t look so in love! But while Michelle is saying in her confessional that Nayte is her soul mate, Nayte is still throwing out words “might” and “possible”, as in: it might work out between them or there’s a possibility for real love. Though nothing can be worse than his response to the other men when they ask how his date went and he said they “vibed out” and really “kicked it.” Nathan! These are things I said about the CBD products a sorority sister conned me into purchasing as a part of her mommy group’s pyramid scheme. These are not things you say after spending an intimate night with your future wife!
Going into the rose ceremony, Nayte’s shine cannot be dulled. While the rest of the dudes look like they would rather have spoiled fruit thrown at them in the town square than be in this room where they might get romantically rejected after spending the night with a woman, Nayte is practically giddy to get his rose. He’s 6’6, what does he have to be worried about?
And what do you know?
True love Height and inconsistent romantic feelings reign victorious once again! Nayte scores the first of the roses and, after a moment of wavering, Brandon lands the second rose. This means that Mr. Basketball is going home. As Joe exits he dead-pan mumbles “I just want to go home” and it’s a sentiment that reverberates through my bones. We all just want to go home, Joe.
We’ll have to wait until next week for the three (kill me) hour season finale. Until next week, betches!
Images: ABC / Craig Sjodin; Giphy (4)
It’s the most wonderful time of the yearrrrrr! And, no, I’m not referring to those unhinged enough to already be dousing their homes in holiday cheer. I’m talking about the most wonderful time of The Bachelor year: Hometowns. It’s a pivotal time in the men’s relationship with Michelle, a time when she can look around at her four remaining boyfriends and judge for herself who is ready for marriage and who is still letting mommy cut his meat for him. Fun for the whole family, really!
Last week, Michelle whittled her men down to four: Brandon, Nayte, Joe, and Rodney. I had high hopes that this season might allow for Hometowns to exist again in places like a home or a town, but alas, for the fifth season in a row we’re going to be watching families interact in a sea of beige conference rooms. Boooooo.
I cannot emphasize this enough: the Bachelorette needs proper Hometown dates if she’s going to make an educated decision about her future. The Bachelor? Not so much. He just needs to see which of his girlfriends has the best-aging mom and the least psychotic brothers and he’s good to go. But the Bachelorette? This date is crucial to seeing how the sausage gets made. Literally. And without a childhood home to fact-check if she’s been dating an actual human being and not just a pile of loose-leaf garbage masquerading as a human being, that likelihood gets slimmer and slimmer. I mean, how else is she supposed to find out which of these guys still masturbates to their high school yearbook quote if we don’t get a decent look at the house that built them? Hmm? How?!
Speaking of Hometowns, Brandon’s is up first. We’re told he is allowed to bring his mother, father, and brother into the hostage situation. I say “hostage situation” because I’m not convinced Brandon’s family came of their own free will. My god, in order for the brother to be able to attend this sad little event he had to delay going into the Navy. The Navy! Imagine telling the Navy that you’re too busy to report for duty, you’ve got to support your brother on The Bachelorette. He’s either set himself up for a lifetime of mockery or his presence on my TV isn’t of his own volition. Watch his hands, people. See if his fingers start quietly tapping out Morse code for “help me.”
Before Michelle gets to meet the family, Brandon takes her to a place that feels like home to him: the skate park. Okay, how old is this guy? Aren’t skate parks for, like, the shitty kid you babysit and guys in their 20s who think living in a van is a personality trait?
I think my problem with Brandon, and what makes it impossible to root for him, is that he looks too fresh-faced to be taken seriously. He’s got poreless skin, good intentions, and a positive outlook on life. That would exhaust me. In fact, I know I would look absolutely haggard standing next to him at all times.
MY COMPLEXION DATING BRANDON:
When we finally meet Brandon’s family they are just as poreless and good-intentioned as their offspring. The star of the show, though, is not Brandon or even his parents—the people who instilled Disney Channel-level ethics into him—but his brother. I just can’t stop thinking about the fact that his existence on my television screen came about because he told the US freaking Navy that his start date wasn’t sitting right with his energy. And what a lewk he has about him! Like, are we sure he’s in the armed forces? Or does he just have a TikTok account that references the US Navy in its handle? I’m gonna need some clarification here.
Right off the bat, the brother grabs Michelle to “talk.” It’s less of a civilized conversation and more of a verbal assault of questions. He wants to know why Brandon is different than the other guys she’s dating and I do hope she mentions Brandon’s willingness to be semi-erect whilst wearing her father’s intimates. If that’s not a complete display of devotion, I don’t know what is.
As the brother keeps relentlessly quizzing Michelle, I just keep thinking about all the questions I have for him. Like, how long are you allowed to ghost something like the Navy? Do you already get a demerit for ditching basic training to participate in the saddest part of humanity, reality television? And will you be able to wear that chain during basic training? These are the things that keep me up at night.
Brandon’s dad also seems like a fun guy. He certainly seems to have more chemistry with Michelle than his son does. They’re both talking about drinking beers and Sunday Funday and I’m like, okay, should we get these two a room?? I mean the tension is practically palpable.
Overall, Brandon’s family has a good showing. It’s really too bad that she’ll likely dump them all for someone taller and with more commitment issues. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles, kids!
You poor, stupid fool.
Joe is the only guy actually able to bring Michelle to his hometown as he’s the only one actually from Minneapolis. It almost feels like production withheld normal Hometowns not for safety reasons, but so that this front-runner could have a clear home court advantage…
Whatever the case is, Joe needs all the help he can get. Instead of taking Michelle someplace special, he takes her on a tour of his old high school. WHY?? Not only is this an essential regifting of Michelle’s date idea from last week, but what is attractive about a high school exactly? Is it the stench of disinfectant and Axe body spray? Or the irrational fear that a 15-year-old in Uggs might verbally assault you if you even cross the threshold? Hmm?
The date gets even worse when he plans a two-person prom in the school’s gym that has all of the creative vision of a Party City clearance section. This is an absolute no from me. If a guy led me into an abandoned high school and surprised me with this manifestation of my nightmares, I would not only suspect the date to end in a Josie Grossie moment that involved me at the receiving end of an egging, but also, possibly, an untimely death. I’m telling you, nothing good can come of a prom!
ME TO MY DOG: Mark my words, something wicked this way comes…
Despite the foreboding energy of this date (read: me screaming “the call is coming from inside of the house!!” and other melodramatic horror movie warnings as Michelle has a perfectly normal time), Michelle eats it up. I can tell that the idea of Joe manifests from some sort of high school wet dream that she’s been harboring for the last 15 years. It’s the only explanation, really, for how attached she is to him. I mean the man takes the trope of “strong and silent” to an unheard of level. Seriously, I cannot hear him at all. He never speaks. (Why won’t you speak?!)
It’s only after we meet his family that I understand exactly where Joe gets his quiet demeanor from. Michelle meets his mom, dad, brother, and sister-in-law and, in that meeting, it becomes abundantly clear that the men in the family use mumbled single-syllable words and strategic eye glances as their primary mode of communication.
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The real star of the family is the brother’s wife. She is milking this experience for all it’s worth. I don’t think her husband, you know, the guy WHO’S BLOOD RELATED TO THE REASON WHY THEY’RE ALL THERE, has said more than two words all evening. Meanwhile the wife is like, “I don’t want to have to see her in the grocery store if this doesn’t work out.” Forget the rest of the guys, can we get a hometown date with the wife? I would watch two hours of Michelle trailing behind her in a grocery store, watching her passive-aggressively terrorize her enemies in the produce aisle. This is the content the people want!
Nayte is definitely the date production wants to hype as the shit show. There’s always one. One family that is so aggressively embarrassed to be on this franchise that they would launch verbal nuclear bombs at the family meet-and-greet so as to sabotage any chance of their offspring embarrassing them further by actually, like, legally binding themselves to someone who supports this marital farce masquerading as a show. Nayte’s family is not that. Seriously, if these are the biggest, baddest monsters production could dig up, no one is getting that Christmas bonus this year.
The worst that can be said about Nayte’s family is that they seem hesitant about his relationship with Michelle. Mostly because he’s never introduced a girl to them before. And they aren’t even dramatic about their hesitancy! They’re very calm, cool, and collected about it all.
MICHELLE: Do you think Nayte is ready for marriage?
THE STEP DAD:
Production would also like us to feel weird about the fact that Nayte doesn’t talk about his emotions with his parents, but sorry! I don’t think that’s weird. Who talks honestly and openly to their family about topics that aren’t what we want for dinner? I mean, my family expresses themselves entirely in movie quotes and passive-aggressive requests. In fact, if someone even discusses something remotely intimate, at least one of us makes an excuse about needing something from the fridge so that we can leave the room. What is weird about that?
My favorite is when Nayte gets emotional and tells his stepdad that he loves him for the first time and we’re all supposed to clap and feel things about this. If it took him this long to say “I love you” to a man who has been an emotional constant for almost the entirety of his life, I hate to see what that timeline looks like for Michelle. Perhaps he’ll be ready to drop the “L word” when their first born goes off to college!
You can tell ABC is desperately trying to sow the seeds of discord by using Nayte’s small amount of Hometown family drama to emphasize that Nayte isn’t ready for marriage and that Michelle won’t know who to pick at the rose ceremony. To that I say, no shit, he isn’t ready for marriage. But who cares! Commitment issues are female kryptonite. We’ve been conditioned from a young age to “fix” men, so OF COURSE his failure to drop the L word is getting her hot. Intimacy issues are better than foreplay. At the very least, she would like to see how this energy translates in the fantasy suites. Let the girl live!
Finally, let’s talk about Rodney. I, personally, am very interested to see the kind of stock he hails from. It would not surprise me, for example, to learn that Rodney is actually related to the Charmin Ultra Soft bears. He’s just got that kind of vibe about him.
RODNEY’S FAMILY, PROBABLY:
Look, let me say this. Rodeny is a cinnamon roll of a human, but you also don’t want to fuck a cinnamon roll. I’m getting big friend energy between the two of them, and it’s making me uneasy. I’m having the conflicting urge of both desperately wanting to meet the Charmin bears who raised this sweet specimen of a human and desperately not wanting Michelle to meet them at all, lest she crumble their son like a snickerdoodle cookie.
My initial suspicions about Rodney’s family are proven correct. No, they aren’t Charmin bears. Yes, they’re actual human beings (or at the very least, full-grown marshmallows wearing human skin suits). His family seems so fucking tender I might actually have to look away from my screen. They are way too sweet.
Knowing that his family is cute as shit does nothing to ease my dread. Michelle did say earlier in their date that Rodney is “definitely my best friend” which is how I know for sure that he’s going home this week. Look at the way they even describe their relationship to his parents:
RODNEY: She makes me happy. She’s perfect, she’s beautiful, she’s the future mother of my children.
MICHELLE: Yeah… it’s been fun.
It’s been fun?! I’ve seen more heartfelt emotion in my yearbook from a high school acquaintance’s half scribbled “HAGS.”
In the end, no amount of family cuteness can save Rodney’s fate. Michelle sends him home with a smile and a promise to stay pen pals (as all summer friendships end). Until next week, betches!
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC; Giphy (2); @tvgoldtweets /Instagram (1)
Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelorette recap! So regularly scheduled, in fact, that ABC is going to air footage regardless of little things like nationwide travel schedules or annual holidays. GOBBLE GOBBLE BITCHES, The Bachelorette schedule waits for no woman! I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d still be watching regardless of where Michelle’s journey fell on my Thanksgiving plans, but I’d rather be watching to actively ignore my drunk aunt humble-bragging about her son’s eight-year college track (“it just takes boys longer!!”), not because I have to. It’s the principle of the thing.
Speaking of Thanksgiving, though ABC has “blessed” us with a new episode (I’m using that term loosely, obviously), we have very little to actually be grateful for. Much like the rest of this season, this week’s episode was the visual equivalent of an Ambien. You would think that whittling her group of eight down to a final four for Hometowns would have inspired some sort of frenzy for
camera time Michelle’s affections, but alas even that couldn’t rouse the men into formation. I worry that at this point they’re just trying to coast by on their good looks and loud body jewelry. Look, all I’m saying is that nose rings do not a personality make, mmkay!
Count Your Blessings: The Kids Are Back
Did you guys know that Michelle’s a teacher? Did you?! It appears that whenever production reviews their footage and realizes that they casted a bunch of well-adjusted duds they turn to a tried-and-true method for producing grade-A television: kids. There’s nothing America loves more than watching a bunch of sweet but sassy children verbally spar with grown men whose IQ levels hover slightly below their own—and honestly, neither do I. At this point the kids are the only thing making this season interesting.
We’re told that Michelle’s students will be planning this week’s dates and will be choosing who deserves to go on her first one-on-one date. Wait a minute. Is this how kids are spending their summer vacations now?? What happened to reading logs and math worksheets? Instead ABC has them entertaining a room full of strange men unsupervised (!!!) and plotting story arcs that even the executive creative team couldn’t come up with. Someone get these twerps on payroll!
As the kids descend upon the men in a plume of Hawaiian Punch and pre-puberty funk, I’ve never seen grown adults look so alarmed. I have a feeling they would take that g-force simulator from week three over this babysitting gig. But babysit they must, because the kids hold their fate with Michelle in their grubby little hands. How will the kids come to their decision? Through a series of nonsensical questions that range from “what’s your dream wedding” to “do you shave your nipples?” The questions serve the dual purpose of scaring the men right into an abstinence pact and entertaining the hell out of me (a tough feat, let me tell you).
Martin especially looks uncomfortable under their line of questioning, though that could be because he’s probably not allowed to be within 200 feet of children. Not for like, legal reasons, but because his personality sucks so much. While the rest of the guys bond with the kids by making fart noises with their hands, Martin entertains little Kelsey with a detailed breakdown of how to gaslight women. Meanwhile, Kelsey is looking at him like he’s the walking talking DARE ad her elementary school counselor warned her about. Run, Melissa, run!
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Out of the mouths of babes!
That Turkey Is Cooked: Clayton’s One-On-One
Though I trust these kids more than Michelle to find a suitable husband for her, I do question their pick for the first one-on-one date of the week: Clayton. Week after week I say I’m going to add a “Bachelor Watch” section to my recap, and week after week I write exactly one bullet note about Clayton that’s usually a variation of “boring,” “idiot,” “nothingburger,” or “why would they do this to us?” Ostensibly this should be the moment we’ve been waiting for all season, the moment where Clayton finally shows us why ABC chose him to be our next Bachelor—and yet, he falls short. Again.
Even Michelle seems disappointed that the kids would choose him over, say, Nayte or Joe or the potted plant in the lobby. She sucks it up for date, though, a Home Alone-esque fantasy in which Ms. Michelle and Clayton are set loose in a museum after hours. What should be a romantic night between two beautiful looking people instead gives off heavy teacher-student field trip vibes. I kept waiting for Clayton to ask if he had permission to open his packed lunch yet. The only thing Clayton gave us at all during this date was the distinct feeling that he has an inner child. And by that I mean an actual child was wearing him like a man suit. Like, I would not be surprised if little Luke Freaky Friday’d him before this date.
Later, Clayton says that he just wants to be vulnerable with Michelle and it’s as if he’s reading straight off some sort of script. Seriously, HOW is this guy become our next Bachelor?? Stock images have more life to them than he does.
Ultimately, Michelle feels the same way. She says that she doesn’t feel like she’s able to “get there” with Clayton before Homewtowns and it’s a sentiment that reverberates through Bachelor Nation. After all, Clayton is the only guy who managed to get sent home after a one-on-one date this season (even Martin finagled his way into receiving a rose and he insulted Michelle right to her face!).
It appears that—just like the kids’ reasoning!—ABC went with Clayton because he has big muscles and can build a really huge fort. Stunning. Production does show us some mediocre footage of Clayton post-breakup discovering some hand-written notes from the children in his hotel room, but it all feels too little too late. I’m sure ABC saw those kid-induced tears and thought they’d hit PR gold. Here’s a grown man who shows emotions! About kids! And he’s not even ashamed about it! Everybody give this big, strong man a clap for his bravery. The problem that ABC doesn’t seem to understand is that we as an audience are asking for more than an emotionally stunted white guy who needed to have fifth graders validate his emotions for him so he could realize that commitment might be a thing he’s into, maybe. Come on. Do better.
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Hateful & Ungrateful: Martin’s Big Exit Moment
Now onto things I’m even less grateful for: Martin. This week, once again, Martin proved that he’s unfit to exist in public spaces or be around people who don’t have the same life goals as a Scooby Doo villain. I have this theory that Martin is actually a barn animal masquerading as a human man and finally, finally, Michelle is starting to see that as well.
Martin landed a spot on the farm themed group date where the only high points included watching the men assault cow udders and Nayte feigning a back injury to get out of shoveling poop. The real show came later in the evening when Martin started running his mouth off again about Michelle. He tells the other men that Michelle often “misunderstands” him and that this shows her immaturity. This is a bold proclamation from a guy whose style aesthetic can only be described as the floor of a Forever21.
I think his way of feeling in control of the situation (i.e. being one of eight boyfriends) is to make Michelle seem less appealing to the other guys. That way if she rejects him, well, that bitch was ugly anyway. Martin’s dating strategy is to basically internet troll an attractive woman into complacency, and it’s time for him to go.
Ulo, being the earth angel that he is, takes it upon himself to warn Michelle that Martin is a walking, talking red flag. Ulo tells her that when Michelle read her poem a few weeks back, Martin called her insecure for not being able to get over a little thing like the systemic trauma of growing up as a Black woman in America.
MICHELLE: Did you call me insecure?
MARTIN: There’s a difference between being insecure and having insecurities, my love.
Michelle’s like, “you haven’t been honest about the fact that you’re a dick.” Well, I think he’s been pretty up front about it. He does look like a visual representation of an Urban Dictionary explanation of a TikTok insult.
Whatever doubts we may have had about Martin’s character are immediately alleviated when he starts railing on Michelle after his elimination. He says that a girl like that doesn’t deserve his attention and it’s just sad, he feels so sad for her, and it’s like has Martin completely lost all control of the demon inside him? If he thinks Michelle’s denouncement of his character was bad, just wait until he finds out what the internet thinks of him!
More Blessings: Brandon Gets Busted
I’ll end on a high note, the final blessed moment ABC grants us: watching Brandon try and hide a chubby in a pair of Michelle’s dad’s waterlogged swim trunks. If that camera work doesn’t win ABC an Emmy, I don’t know what will.
Michelle brings Brandon to her childhood home for their one-on-one date. Tbh Brandon seems a little much for me. I know people will swoon over him after this episode, but he’s so over-the-top about his affections for her it’s almost unbelievable. At one point he’s like, “Michelle is literally walking me through her heart” and it’s like, dude, chill. She’s walking you down a hallway.
Once again I’m reminded that Michelle was an undesirable growing up because she’s way too excited about living out this high school fantasy of having a boy alone in her parent’s home.
MICHELLE: You know what would be so hot? If you wore my dad’s intimates and dry humped me in the family hot tub.
Brandon looks appropriately horrified by the suggestion—as if he knows this adventure can only end in his humiliation. And you know what? He’s not wrong! Seconds after Michelle straddles him and starts getting intimately acquainted with the back of his throat, who should walk in on them but the actual owners of the house: Michelle’s parents. Imagine that! You can tell first impressions mean a lot to Brandon and he was not expecting to meet his maybe future in-laws whilst trying to hide a wet spot. Well, think about it this way, buddy: you can only go up from here.
And that’s a wrap on the recap! Next week we’re headed to Hometowns where Nayte, Brandon, Joe, and Rodney will introduce Michelle to the human embodiments of their intimacy issues. Until then!
Images: ABC / Craig Sjodin; Giphy (2); @bachelorettewindmill /Instagram (1); @tvgoldtweets /Instagram (1)